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Photo credit: Valentina Medvedeva


UNIQUE PARTNERSHIP BENEFITS SCIENCE STUDENTS Chestnut Hill College and Fox Chase Cancer Center join forces. By Brenda Lange

hanks to an agreement with Fox Chase Cancer Center (FCCC), CHC’s top biology students now have the opportunity to conduct research at one of the region’s top biomedical and oncology centers. The Immersive Undergraduate Research Program allows qualifying students a chance to learn about all aspects of research science — including high-profile bench research — and receive training in how to communicate what they have learned in various venues, such as the SEPCHE Honor’s Conference and the national meeting hosted by Sigma Zeta National Honor Society for the Natural Sciences, among others. An additional, and important, goal is for the students to publish their research in peer-reviewed science journals, an accomplishment that opens many post-graduate doors. “Qualified students spend approximately 15 months in the program, with a minimum of 10 hours per week at Fox Chase and two summers of research,” says Joe Kulkosky, professor of biology and chair of the department. “This level of commitment


Jason Wasserman ’16, Kelsey Haugh ’14, Kelly Dunlevy ’15

greatly increases the opportunity for these students to publish their findings in high-profile, peer-reviewed journals.” While rare for undergraduates to publish their research findings, Kelsey Haugh ’14 did just that, converting hers into a paper that was reviewed and published by the Virology Journal ( before she graduated from CHC. “There is such an advantage to publishing your work,” says Siddharth Balachandran, Ph.D., associate professor in the Blood Cell Development and Function Program, and Haugh’s primary mentor at FCCC. Balachandran and Richard Katz, Ph.D., a research professor in the Cancer Epigenetics Program at FCCC, created a joint project on a retrovirus, ASV, in which Haugh infected chicken cells and treated them in order to observe the effects of host defense on the dynamics of viral infection. “Usually students don’t have a specific interest, they just want to show research experience on their resumes. However, Kelsey indicated she was interested in virology. She did so well and was so into the science, she kept coming after the summer ended,” Balachandran remembers.

Chestnut Hill Magazine, Spring 2016  
Chestnut Hill Magazine, Spring 2016